JOHN E. KIRTLEY, prison inspector, Eddyville, Ky., was born December 17, 1838, in Henry County, Ky., and is the son of E. B. and Jennette (Montgomery) Kirtley. The father was born in Ohio, April 10, 1809, and when sixteen years old, came to Woodford County, Ky., and learned the trade of blacksmith. After learning his trade, he married and went to Henry County, where he worked at his trade until thirty-three years old, when he engaged in farming in Henry County, where he lived until 1854, when he moved his family to Buchanan County, Mo., and farmed until 1861; then moved to Columbia, central Missouri, where he left his family and went to Virginia City, Montana. At the close of the war he returned to Buchanan County, where he owned a large tract of land, which he sold, and went to Platte County, Mo., where he still resides. He had nine children, five now living: Anna, wife of Dr. L. Watson, of Maryville, Mo.; John E., our subject; Jephtha, at Maryville, Mo.; Sallie, wife of Woodson Bryant, and Phillip R., in Buchanan County, Mo. The father has been a deacon and member of the Baptist Church thirty-five years. His wife, who died April 10, 1877, was also a member of long standing. John E. was principally reared on a farm, and acquired a thorough education in the common schools. Being the eldest son, he managed the home place for his father until the breaking out of the war, when, in 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate service, under John A. Boyd, State guard of Missouri, as second-lieutenant of a mounted infantry company, which took part in the skirmish at Lexington, Mo., and there captured Mulligan. After this battle, he was transferred to cavalry service, Cornell regiment; then went South; was in the battle of Pea Ridge; then south to Van Buren, Ark., where he was taken sick, and went to Jacksonport, Ark.; then returned to north Missouri for the purpose of recruiting; was captured and confined at St. Joseph for six weeks, and tried as a bushwhacker; was paroled after six weeks; ran off and came to Kentucky, where he remained until the close of the war. February 14, 1866, he married Maria Taylor, of Frankfort, Ky., a daughter of William and Minorha (Luckett) Taylor. Her father ran, with Maj. B. Luckett, the Mansion House at that place. After marriage, he farmed a year in Scott County, and then went to Missouri and opened a feed and sale stable at St. Joseph, which he conducted for eight months; thence went to Platte County, where he engaged in mercantile business for fourteen months; then farmed for two years, and then returned to Kentucky, and took charge of the chair factory and cooper shop at the penitentiary for seven years, and then, after the death of Col. J. W. South, the lessee, he ran the factory one month in the interest of the State; then made the race for deputy warden, and was defeated by one vote; then elected by the city council of Frankfort, as city collector for a term of two years; then traveled in the interests of the Kentucky River Mills until 1884, when he accepted his present position of prison inspector. Mr. Kirtley has three children, Lena R., Albert T. and Sallie T., all at home. Mr. and Mrs. Kirtley and Lena, are members of the Baptist Church, at Frankfort, in which he is a deacon. Politically he is a Democrat, and a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Source: J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin, & G. C. Kniffin. Kentucky. A History of the State. Louisville, KY, Chicago, IL: Battey, 1885. Pages 856-857.